Dataveillance Consolidation

Reed Elsevier, owners of Lexis-Nexix, make a scary move: Magazines Up for Sale, Including Variety

Variety, Publishers Weekly and dozens of other trade publications are going up for sale as the publishing company Reed Elsevier looks to get out of the uncertain advertising market.

The company, based in London and Amsterdam, announced Thursday that it intended to sell one unit, Reed Business Information, and acquire ChoicePoint, a provider of consumer information, for $4.1 billion.

Ed Felten Causing Unrest

Just keeping folks on their toes! Researchers Find Way to Steal Encrypted Data

The move, which cannot be carried out remotely, exploits a little-known vulnerability of the dynamic random access, or DRAM, chip. Those chips temporarily hold data, including the keys to modern data-scrambling algorithms. When the computer’s electrical power is shut off, the data, including the keys, is supposed to disappear.

In a technical paper that was published Thursday on the Web site of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, the group demonstrated that standard memory chips actually retain their data for seconds or even minutes after power is cut off.

When the chips were chilled using an inexpensive can of air, the data was frozen in place, permitting the researchers to easily read the keys — long strings of ones and zeros — out of the chip’s memory.